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Vitamin Q: the book!

~ Friday, February 25, 2005

12 things which other people seem to like but which do nothing for me:

1 mountains
2 cars
3 hot weather
4 The Kinks
5 being pampered
6 ice cream
7 worship
8 strippers
9 gin
10 films
11 rugby
12 democracy, as it is

...and 12 things I like which other people don't seem to much:

1 hotel rooms
2 reference books
3 corners
4 wedding dresses
5 true crime
6 almonds
7 Jackie Leven
8 red ale
9 cushions
10 poetry
11 Americans
12 menus
~ Thursday, February 24, 2005

Various words for a child:

1 tot
2 brat
3 lamb
4 sprog
5 lad (m)
6 wean (Scotland)
7 giglet (f)
8 kid
9 chit (f)
10 ankle-biter
11 nipper
12 tacker (Cornwall)
13 pickney (Jamaica)
14 toddler
15 rugrat
16 bairn
17 cherub
18 mite
19 urchin (m)
20 bambino
21 cub (m)
22 romp (f)
23 saucepan (Cockney rhyming slang – lid=kid)
24 hoyden (f)
25 infant
26 rube
27 tad
28 tyke
29 sprout
30 billylid (Australia)
31 squirt
32 loon (m)
33 moppet
~ Friday, February 18, 2005

The word 'Love' in the title of a book is supposed to help its sales. Here are 'a few' by romance writer Barbara Cartland:

The Wild Cry of Love / The Coin of Love / Lessons in Love / The Fire of Love / Love is Contraband / Love Forbidden / Love is an Eagle / Food for Love / Not Love Alone / The Wings of Love / The Tears of Love / The Price is Love / The Thief of Love / An Arrow for Love / Love in Hiding / Running Away to Love / The Eyes of Love / The Devil in Love / Lights of Love / Three Days to Love / Love is the Enemy / Love in Hiding / Love Me For Ever / No Time for Love / Love in the Clouds / Love in the Ruins / Armour Against Love / The Slaves of Love / The River of Love / Love on the Run / Messenger of Love / Love Holds the Cards / Passage to Love / Love, Lords and Ladybirds / Hungry for Love / Love Leaves at Midnight / The Spirit of Love / Love is Dangerous / Someone to Love / The Protection of Love / Love Under Fire / Who Can Deny Love? / Love Locked In / Never Laught at Love / Love on the Wind / The Flame is Love / No Darkness for Love / Love to the Rescue / The Mask of Love / Conquered By Love / Love is Mine / The Love in Pity / Love is Innocent / This Is Love
~ Monday, February 14, 2005

A baker's dozen of unusual pie types:

1 peacock pie – not unusual in ye olden days, when peacocks were often eaten, but the dish was served in rich society, decorated with the bird's tail sticking out one end, the head and neck at the other
2 pizza pazza - although not quite a definite pie name, I like this term ('mad pizza') which I spotted on a menu recently, used for the odd British liking for that style of pizza with meat and pineapple chunks on it
3 humble pie – originally made from the entrails or offal of deer and eaten by the lower classes
4 stargazy pie – pilchard or herring pie from SW England – the fishheads should stick up above the pastry, hence the name
5 lumber pie – an old-fashioned sweet and savoury pie filled with fruit (berries, grapes) and white-meatballs
6 kalakukko – this Finnish pie is unusual in that the filling (fish and other meat) is cooked inside a crust of hard bread and comes out looking like a large loaf
7 macaroni pie – vegetarian (if not healthy) variant on the Scotch pie (hard round individual pie with finely minced mutton), consisting of a pie-shell filled with macaroni cheese, with a cheddar crust
8 shoofly pie – gooey, syrup flavoured, open-topped pie associated with the Amish (its lumpy appearance - cheux-fleur, meaning cauliflower - may be the French derivation of the name)
9 gravel pie – quite similar to the above, but covered in a layer of biscuit (cookie) crumbs which are supposed to resemble gravel
10 homity pie – open-topped potato and cheese pie, flavoured with onion and garlic, apparently originating during the hardships of wartime
11 churdle – a liver and vegetable pasty-style pie with cheese, from southern England
12 resurrection pie – a name given to a pie made from leftover meat and vegetables
13 fidget pie – English pie made with bacon, potato and apples, its name probably derived from a term meaning 'five-sided'


VitQ reader J writes: “Much as the British sometimes use French words to try and appear more intelligent: "savoir faire" or "je ne sais quoi", the French sometimes use English words to try and seem more efficient. Below is a list of English words that I have noted being used by French managers to try and speed things along.”

Schedule: as in 'Savez-vous le schedule?' (Do you know the plan of work?)
Tight: as in 'Nous avons un schedule tight.' (We have a tight plan of work.)
Timing: as in 'Ça depend le timing du projet.' (That depends on the project timing.)
Shortcut: as in 'Il y a un shortcut...' (There is a shortcut...)
Best guess: as in 'C'est un best guess.' (It's my best estimate, anything more accurate would take forever.)
Nice-to-have: as in 'Oui, c'est le nice-to-have, mais d'abord...' (Yes, that would be nice to have, but first of all...)
Jump: as in 'Il faut jumper quelques slides.' (We need to skip a few of these powerpoint presentation slides).
Staff: as in 'Comment vous allez staffer ce projet?' (How will you get the people required to do this project in time?)
On-the-job-training: as in 'Nous allons introduire le on-the-job-training. (We're going to stop people going on training courses.)
Tricky: as in 'C'est un peu tricky...' (It's a bit difficult, we don't have much time...)

Thanks to J for this list
~ Thursday, February 10, 2005

You've heard of chick flicks, now here are the rest:

Mick Flick (Patriot Games, The Crying Game)
Hick Flick (Deliverance, Beverley Hillbillies)
Dick Flick (Richard III)
Kick Flick (Enter the Dragon, Bend It Like Beckham)
Sick Chick Flick (Love Story)
Trick Flick (The Magician)
Hockeystick Flick (Slap Shot)
Tick Flick (Them, Arachnophobia)
Click Flick (Blow Up)
Quick Flick (Speed)
Nick Flick (The Shawshank Redemption, Each Dawn I Die)
Broomstick Flick (The Witches of Eastwick)
Slick Flick (Creepshow 2)
Rick Flick (Casablanca)
Drumstick Flick (The Gene Krupa Story)
Seasick Flick (Lifeboat)
Thick Flick (Dumb and Dumber)
Lick Flick (Chinese Ghost Story)
Bolshevik Flick (Dr Zhivago)
Prick Flick (Sleeping Beauty)
Chopstick Flick (Eat Drink Man Woman)
Sick Flick (Outbreak, Masque of the Red Death)
Arithmetic Flick (Good Will Hunting)
Stick Flick (Drunken Master)
Catholic Flick (The Magdalene Sisters)
Lunatic Flick (Asylum, Shock Corridor)
Candlestick Flick (Clue)
~ Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Films whose 'fans' are more annoying than the film itself:

1 Withnail and I
2 Rocky Horror Picture Show
3 The Italian Job (original version)
4 The Blues Brothers
5 The Big Lebowski
6 Lord of the Rings
7 The Shawshank Redemption
8 Pulp Fiction
9 The Sound of Music
10 Harold and Maude
11 This is Spinal Tap
12 Blue Velvet
13 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
14 Monty Python and the Holy Grail
15 The Seventh Seal
16 The Godfather
17 Star Wars
18 Wayne's World
19 Taxi Driver
20 Fight Club

This list has caused much discussion on the net, mostly at the Straight Dope forum. With this in mind, I would have to bow to suggestions from others and add The Matrix and Office Space to the list. I didn't put a huge amount of thought into the list, just asked a few friends. It's not to be taken too serious, like, but it reflects three factors: films which lead people to parrot catchphrases, dance routines and bits of the script; films which are reinterpreted as lifestyle choices; films which are interpreted as having the heady allegorical depths of certain works of art and literature.

In the heyday of Hollywood, studios would look out for actors who looked, sounded or acted like current stars. They were employed by rival studios or even by the star's own studio (to keep them on their toes). Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion lists several of these 'lookalikes', a few of whom became quite well-known:

Deanna Durbin (lookalike: Gloria Jean)
Clark Gable (John Carroll)
Marlene Dietrich (Anna Sten)
Ronald Colman (Brian Aherne)
Errol Flynn (Patric Knowles)
John Garfield (Dane Clark)
Rudolph Valentino (Antonio Moreno / Richardo Cortez)
Ingrid Bergman (Viveca Lindfors)
Freddie Bartholomew (Roddy McDowell)
Rock Hudson (John Gavin)
Cary Grant (Gig Young)
Lauren Bacall (Lizabeth Scott)
Lana Turner (Mary Beth Hughes)
Maria Montez (Yvonne de Carlo)
Marilyn Monroe (Sheree North / Mamie Van Doren)
Gary Cooper (Joel McCrea)
Grace Kelly (Tippi Hedren)
~ Friday, February 04, 2005

40 musicians who died before 40:

(p = probable)

1 Gram Parsons – country singer/songwriter (26 – p drug-related heat failure)
2 Sandy Denny – folk singer (31 – fell down stairs)
3 Jimi Hendrix – guitarist (27 – p overdose)
4 Tammi Terrell – soul singer (23 – brain tumour)
5 Tupac Shakur - soul / rap singer (25 – p murder)
6 John Bonham – Led Zeppelin drummer (32 – p alcohol poisoning)
7 Patsy Cline – country singer (30 – plane crash)
8 Duane Allman – guitarist (24 - road accident)
9 Karen Carpenter – singer (32 – eating disorder)
10 Kurt Cobain – Nirvana singer/songwriter (27 – p suicide)
11 Jim Reeves – country singer (39 – plane crash)
12 Bob Marley – singer/songwriter (36 - cancer)
13 Buddy Holly – songwriter (22 – plane crash)
14 Minnie Riperton – soul singer (31 - cancer)
15 Brian Jones – Rolling Stones founder (27 - drowned, p murder)
16 Sam Cooke – soul singer (29 – shot dead)
17 Blind Lemon Jefferson – blues guitarist (33 - heart attack)
18 Ian Curtis – Joy Division singer/songwriter (23 - suicide)
19 Gene Vincent – rock singer/guitarist (36 - haemhorrage)
20 Nick Drake - singer/songwriter (26 - overdose)
21 Clyde McPhatter - Drifters singer (38 – heart problems)
22 Phil Lynott – Thin Lizzy singer (34 – heart problems)
23 Dennis Wilson – Beach Boys member (39 - drowning)
24 Hank Williams – country singer (29 – heart attack)
25 Elliott Smith – singer/songwriter (34 - p suicide)
26 Keith Moon – The Who drummer (32 - overdose)
27 Eddie Cochran – rock singer (21 – road accident)
28 Lowell George – Little Feat guitarist (34 – heart attack)
29 Tim Buckley – singer/songwriter (28 - overdose)
30 Janis Joplin - singer (27 – heroin overdose)
31 Billy Mackenzie – The Associates singer/songwriter (39 - suicide)
32 Bobby Fuller – rock singer/guitarist (22 – p. murder)
33 Bobby Darin - pop singer - (37 – heart disease)
34 Chris Bell – Big Star guitarist/songwriter (27 - road accident)
35 Mama Cass - singer (32 – heart attack)
36 Bon Scott – AC/DC rock singer (33 - intoxication)
37 Tim Hardin – singer/songwriter (39 – heroin overdose)
38 Otis Redding – soul singer (26 - plane crash)
39 Mary Hansen – Stereolab singer/guitarist (36 – road accident)
40 Jim Morrison – Doors singer (27 – p overdose)
~ Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A list of famous beds:

1 In the late 1980s, soul singer Alexander O'Neal would perform some of his songs on a lavish bed which was part of his stage set. Ladeeez from the audience could join him for some singing-related hot fun.

2 Van Gogh's crooked bed is the main feature of one of his most celebrated paintings 'The Bedroom at Arles'.

3 Most countries have a host of apocryphal beds in which X has slept. In Scotland, it is Mary Queen of Scots, in the US, George Washington. If all the beds in which Washington slept were laid end to end and divided by nine, he would still have to have lived to a hundred and fifty three.

4 In Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie's four grandparents spend their lives in one communal bed, two at each end.

5 Better known for her book The Borrowers, Mary Norton also wrote the two children's books on which the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks was based. These stories tell of the adventures – based around a magic, flying bed - of three children and their aunt's trainee witch neighbour Miss Price.

6 Artist Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' exhibit of 1998 is one of the most notorious artworks of recent years. It is a representation of, erm, her bed, complete with stains and rumples, and the detritus to be found around it (vodka bottles, condoms etc).

7 The Great Bed of Ware is a huge four-poster bed found in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. According to legend, covered beds were necessary to stop sleepers being bothered by creatures (cats, creepy crawlies) falling out of the thatched roof-space above them.

8 In Suite 1742 of the Fairmont Hotel, in Montreal, John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their most famous bed-in, spending eight days in bed, during which they wrote and recorded 'Give Peace a Chance' with the help of Petula Clark and Timothy Leary. World peace, naturally, was achieved just moments later.

9 In the mid 1950s, the artist Robert Rauschenberg created 'Bed', an artwork consisting of a bed hung on a wall like a painting.

10 18th century charlatan James Graham built a 'Temple of Health' in London, designed to part the rich and their money. The main attraction was the 50-pounds-per-night 'Celestial Bed', supposed to cure impotence or infertility. The mattress was stuffed in part with stallions' tales and an electrical current ran through the headboard and supposedly filled the air with magnetic charges which were beneficial to sexual health.

11 In Hans Christian Andersen's tale, 'The Princess and the Pea', the girl proves herself a princess by remaining sleepless due to feeling the pea even through twenty mattresses.

12 John Denver sang of 'Grandma's Feather Bed' which was 'nine feet high and six feet wide, soft as a downy chick / It was made from the feathers of forty eleven geese, took a whole bolt of cloth for the tick / It’d hold eight kids an' four hound dogs and a piggy we stole from the shed / We didn’t get much sleep but we had a lot of fun on grandma’s feather bed'. These days, of course, it's illegal.

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